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The Most Depressing Day of the Year.

Twelve months until the next Halloween - how to pass the time?

By Steve Biodrowski     November 01, 2000

Welcome to the most depressing day of the year. That's right: the Day after Halloween. Man, what a letdown! It's like crashing after a really good high. Now there's nothing left but the hangover and the disturbing thought that next Halloween won't come for another 364 days. I mean, you spend all October getting readydecorating the house, choosing a costume, buying candy and treatsand then the whole thing's over in a single night. Doesn't seem fair, really.

Of course, it's up to those of us who enjoy science fiction, horror, and fantasy to keep the Halloween spirit alive all year round. You probably wouldn't be visiting Fandom if you didn't want to stretch your imagination on a regular basis. Maybe you even go to conventions dressed as Mr. Spock or Dr. Who; or you might be part of the Goth crowd that dresses up in elaborate, black Victorian clothing on a weekly basis while visiting doom-and-gloom clubs with names like Helter Skelter and Coven 13. If so, then it's not as if Halloween night is exactly a unique day of the year for you.

Nevertheless, there is something special about Halloween, even if you don't personally need this specific excuse to put on your homemade Klingon costume. You see, this is the day when you can do that without drawing stares of derision from your neighbors, friends, co-workersbecause this is the day when everybody else joins in, when the general store is selling stuff you usually have to seek out in a specialty shop, when your girlfriend might actually agree to attend a midnight horror show instead of insisting on Bed of Roses or some other sickening romantic weepie. Think about that for a second.... For one day of the year, you get to act out your fantasies, and you don't have to pay fifty bucks to go to the latest Sci-Fi Con to do it. People on your street, in your neighborhood, are decorating their houses and dressing up their children, maybe even dressing up themselves, and acting out some strange echo of an old Celtic tradition that no one really remembers anymore, because it's been superceded by a more general, all-encompassing tradition. It's as if the whole world is undergoing some kind of Freudian catharsis, or (switching to Jungian terms) learning to embrace their Shadow Man. Either way you look at it, the purgative effect has got to be healthy and revivifying for the social psyche. In its own way, it's almost as joyous an occasion as Christmas, if not nearly so sacred.

And then...tomorrow comes. Damn! Why couldn't it have lasted just a little longer? You can stretch the feeling a bit by hitting the 'Day after Halloween' sales and stocking up on decorations to use next year, but do you really want to pack up that costume for a whole year? Of course not! Sure, you're options may be limited, but don't give in to despair, no matter how depressing this day seems. After all, life's too short to spend 364 days in mindless conformity while only expressing your true self once a year. Leave those jack o'lanterns and scarecrows out at least until Thanksgiving; leave those Nightmare Before Christmas toys out until Christmas (and remember, the 'twelve days of Christmas' run until January 6, so that includes the New Year as well). Try to make every day Halloweenor at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. Me, I think I'll hit some of the Goth clubs this weekend. (The patrons have better fashion sense than the Trekkies, and the women are more alluring.)

Of course, we could always try to turn Walpurgis Night into a second Halloween. Falling on April 30, it would bisect the year perfectly. According to Webster's, this is the day when witches were supposed to gather for their revels in the Harz mountains of Germany, and Bram Stoker makes quite a big deal out of it in this passage from 'Dracula's Guest':

Walpurgis Night, when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroadwhen the graves were opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel.

Sounds like it has potential to me. Of course, there might be some initial resistance to the idea, but think of the merchandising potential. Halloween is already the second biggest holiday cash cow of the year (after Christmas, of course), so why shouldn't corporate America get behind an idea that could net them more money, and once the advertising and merchandising muscle is in force, there'll be no stopping it.

Oh well, maybe it's only a dream, but it is a pleasant one.

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